David Davenport

Research Fellow

David Davenport is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a visiting scholar at the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. He specializes in constitutional federalism, civic education, modern American conservatism, and international 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 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

horse and carriage

Urging the FCC to Tune In, Drop Out

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 23, 2012

This is the new information age, not the old “golden age” of radio. Broadcast anachronisms like “equal time” should sign off for good. By David Davenport.

Analysis and Commentary

Public Prayer Does Not “Establish Religion”

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, November 28, 2011

The point of the Establishment clause was to prevent the government from establishing state religions, not to remove God from the public square entirely...

Analysis and Commentary

The Palestinian End Run

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, November 4, 2011

The U.S. is right to oppose this end-run by vetoing it in the Security Council, voting against it elsewhere, and declining further funding to bodies that give into it...

Analysis and Commentary

Our Growing Government

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Even as we live through the biggest recession since the Great Depression, we are also witnesses to the most expansive exercise of federal power since the New Deal...

Vote of Confidence

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another presidential season, another attempted end run around the Electoral College. Let’s be careful. Even now, it has its uses. By David Davenport.

Analysis and Commentary

No Room for a Christian Worldview

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, October 10, 2011

In adding new rights for people, it’s neither necessary nor proper to take rights from others, including Christians...

Analysis and Commentary

Prosecuting Israelis?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, September 30, 2011

Many close observers of Palestine’s bid for statehood at the U.N. believe their primary motive is to join the International Criminal Court and seek charges against Israel for war crimes in Gaza. But it’s not at all clear that will happen...

Analysis and Commentary

Governor could improve voters' trust in government

by David Davenport, Lenny Mendoncavia San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We suggest [Gov. Jerry Brown] locate and sign two bills, SB14 and SB15, that help solve two of his biggest problems: the annual budget mess and the lack of public trust in Sacramento's leadership, which voters say are closely linked...

Palestinians eye a can of courtroom worms

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Friday, September 23, 2011

One interesting question raised by the Palestinian statehood initiative at the United Nations is how this will affect the role of the

Analysis and Commentary

Palestinians eye a can of courtroom worms

by David Davenportvia Washington Times
Friday, September 23, 2011

Backdoor approach to statehood through ICC won’t work...