David Davenport

Research Fellow

David Davenport is a research fellow specializing in international law and treaties, constitutional federalism, and American politics and law.

Davenport is the former president of Pepperdine University (1985–2000). Under his leadership, the university experienced significant growth in quality and reputation. Davenport cofounded Common Sense California and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. He also served on the board of California Forward, a major bipartisan reform group, and was a member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Performance Review Commission. He was a visiting fellow at the Ashbrook Center working on civic education from 2016 to 2018.

His work on policy appears in a number of places, including a regular column in the Washington Examiner and regular radio commentaries on the Salem Radio Network and Townhall.com.

He has coauthored three books with his colleague Gordon Lloyd: How Public Policy Became War (2019), Rugged Individualism: Dead or Alive? (2017), and The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry (2013). These books offer distinctive ways of understanding both the current and the historic debates between progressives and conservatives.  

Davenport has also contributed chapters to Hoover books on values in a free society and legal threats to American values; and has authored articles in Policy Review on “The New Diplomacy” and “The Politics of Literacy.” Davenport is a popular public speaker, having served for several years as a world affairs lecturer for Crystal Cruises.

Davenport earned a BA with distinction in international relations from Stanford University and a JD from the University of Kansas’s School of Law, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and earned national and international awards in moot court competitions.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

Closing the Door on Innovation: Why One National Curriculum is Bad for America

by John E. Chubb, David Davenport, Richard A. Epstein, Williamson M. Evers, Robert P. George, David R. Henderson, Edwin Meese III, Michael McConnell, Shelby Steele, Herbert J. Walbergvia K12Innovation.com
Monday, May 9, 2011

A Critical Response to the Shanker Institute Manifesto and the U.S. Department of Education’s Initiative to Develop a National Curriculum and National Assessments Based on National Standards...

Analysis and Commentary

How to lose the republic

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The National Popular Vote bill, recently introduced in the California Legislature, is a poster child for how to lose the republic...

How to Lose the Republic

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

By David Davenport with Gordon Lloyd

Analysis and Commentary

Public Broadcasting Should Go Private

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, March 11, 2011

As we look at how to cut trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, it’s time for the government to get out of the broadcasting business...

Why Can’t International Law Stop Somali Pirates?

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This is a live radio interview with Greg Jarrett on Fox HQ discussing piracy and why international law jurisdiction in today’s environment is difficult.

Here is David’s recorded podcast:

The Tug of War Over the U.S. Constitution

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Tug of War Over the U.S. Constitution

PowerPoint presentation lecture slides from a Cyrstal Cuise in the South Pacific, February 2011.

Why is Healthcare Reform So Difficult?

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Is Healthcare Reform So Difficult?

PowerPoint presentation slides from a Crystal Cruise to the South Pacific in February 2011.

Analysis and Commentary

Don't Duck the Hard Issues

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

With several cities and states on the verge of insolvency there are finally, serious discussions about cutting government budgets...