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

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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Davenport: Kagan shows process trumps qualifications

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, June 28, 2010

David Davenport, counselor to the director and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses, on Townhall, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s qualifications for serving on the highest court in the United States.

Analysis and Commentary

Kagan nomination shows process trumps experience

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, May 16, 2010

President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens is frustrating on several levels...

Analysis and Commentary

When Bad Policy Makes Things Worse

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Many lawmakers today suffer from the “we have to do something” syndrome. Politicians think they must pass some kind of legislation to address every problem, whether their solutions are evidence-based, likely to help, or not...

In the News

Summary of submissions on whether the declaration lodged by the Palestinian National Authority meets statutory requirements

by David Davenport, Abraham D. Sofaervia International Criminal Court (ICC)
Monday, May 3, 2010

David Davenport, Kenneth Anderson, Samuel Estreicher, Eugene Kontorovich, Julian G. Ku, and Abraham D. Sofaer, The Palestinian Declaration and ICC jurisdiction, 19 November 2009...