David Davenport

Research Fellow
Biography: 

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

Analysis and Commentary

Health Care Needs Fixing, Not Overhauling

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

With the House repeal of Obamacare, and 27 states challenging its constitutionality in the courts, perhaps it’s time to say what we need instead. The answer, which several of us have suggested from the beginning, is targeted fixes, not federal overhaul...

Analysis and Commentary

Recovering the Constitution

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, January 24, 2011

One favorable development in Washington is Congress’s newfound interest in the Constitution. First, they read it on the House floor and then required that all bills identify “as specifically as practicable the power…granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill...”

Analysis and Commentary

Healthcare Reform Unconstitutional

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, December 16, 2010

Finally! A federal judge, Henry Hudson of Virginia, said what a lot of us have been thinking: a key provision of the healthcare reform law is unconstitutional...

Analysis and Commentary

International Law Needs to Man Up to Pirates

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why hasn’t international law been more effective in dealing with the problem of piracy? Ironically, laws of universal jurisdiction...were largely developed to deal with piracy on the high seas centuries ago, yet in the 21st century, we still have pirates...

International Law Needs to Man Up to Pirates

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two recent developments bring the problem of Somali pirates back into view. Last week, a federal court in Virginia began the first U.S. trial on piracy charges in over 100 years.

The Palestinian End-Run

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For years the Middle East peace process has waxed and waned over the difficult question of forming a new Palestinian state.

Analysis and Commentary

The Palestinian End-Run

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

...I just returned from the International Criminal Court in The Hague where the Palestinians are apparently attempting an end-run around the Middle East peace process to get international institutions such as the ICC to recognize a Palestinian state, with no negotiation or compromise at all...

Analysis and Commentary

Remarks to the ICC Prosecutor’s forum on the Palestinian Declaration Concerning Gaza

by David Davenportvia DavidDavenport.com
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mr. Prosecutor, the matters before us today are interesting, important and difficult. But may I submit to you that they are really more interesting today as academic debates in a journal or forum...Very briefly I will list three reasons why the OTP’s decision here is actually relatively clear...

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