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

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Politics masquerading as law

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, August 30, 2010

David Davenport, counselor to the director and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, notes that Spanish courts are once again exercising their political muscle in the name of international law. Davenport warns that international courts present a danger to American sovereignty and values.

Analysis and Commentary

Politics Masquerading as Law

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, August 30, 2010

Spanish courts are once again exercising their political muscle in the name of international law...

Analysis and Commentary

The Federal-State Tug of War

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Federal courts are full of cases today where state and federal power are squaring off. Cases in California and Massachusetts ask whether state or federal branches should define marriage. The immigration battle in Arizona is primarily a question of federal vs. state power. The constitutional battle over health care asks whether the federal government has the power to regulate it...

Analysis and Commentary

A Republic, if You Can Keep It

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, August 19, 2010

This summer Massachusetts became the 6th state to join the national popular vote movement. This end-run around the Electoral College requires a state to cast its electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote, disregarding its own state outcome...

Analysis and Commentary

Whither Marriage?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, August 16, 2010

Much has been said about one federal judge in San Francisco turning back the millions in California who voted to protect one-man-and-one-woman marriage—and it is disturbing that courts have become engines of social change, taking questions such as marriage away from the states and the people...

Analysis and Commentary

The Politics of Justice

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Although President Obama talks about immigration reform, his administration’s first major action was to sue the state of Arizona for tackling the issue. Even Democrats, like the Governor of Colorado, say that waiting ’til the Arizona law actually took effect made more sense...

The Politics of Justice

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Although President Obama talks about immigration reform, his administration’s first major action was to sue the state of Arizona for tackling the issue.

Analysis and Commentary

Roberts: Prevent the Power Grab

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, July 23, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court will have a chance to stop one of the biggest federal power grabs in our history in several cases working their way through the system...

Analysis and Commentary

Continuing To Hijack Marriage in Court

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I find it interesting when a bill passed overwhelmingly by both parties in Congress and signed by the President suddenly becomes unconstitutional 14 years later when one federal judge declares it so...

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