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

People Are Watching

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Thursday, January 28, 2010

One political myth is that people don’t really pay attention to politics until election time. . . .

In the News

Value Added Education

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Thursday, December 17, 2009

If the Obama administration has one good idea, it belongs to Education Secretary Arne Duncan who is promoting value-added education. . . .

In the News

Why the Continued War on Christmas?

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Monday, December 7, 2009

It’s beginning to look a lot like … wait, don’t say it. If you say it in the wrong place—like a school or courthouse—and you really mean it, you may become a casualty of the war on Christmas. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Value-added education in the race to the top

by David Davenport with Eric Hanushekvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bill Clinton may have invented triangulation - the art of finding a "third way" out of a policy dilemma - but U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is practicing it to make desperately needed improvements in K-12 education. . . .

In the News

The Real Healthcare Problem Is Cost

by David Davenport with John F. Coganvia townhall.com
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

President Obama has declared that the problem with healthcare is access...

In the News

International Criminal Court May Cross a Line in Gaza

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The 7-year old International Criminal Court is starting to feel its oats...

In the News

Davenport: Explaining the Real Health Care Debate

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Monday, October 12, 2009

One reason the health care debate is so heated is because it so clearly reveals the president's political philosophy...

Portrait of a Travesty

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 9, 2009

How “international law” invites a Spanish judge to pursue U.S. officials. By David Davenport.

In the News

Sell Short When Congress is in Session

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Friday, September 25, 2009

Funny that folks think Washington is the solution to the economy...

Analysis and Commentary

Health care debate about liberty versus equality

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Examiner
Thursday, September 24, 2009

As the war over health care comes into sharper relief, it is apparent that the real debate is about something very fundamental in American politics...