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

Same-Sex Marriage Moving to the Courts

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Same-sex marriage may soon be moving from the political branches of government, where it belongs, back to court...

In the News

Hopey Changey Give-Away

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My new favorite bumper sticker reads: "How's that hopey-changey thing working out for you?"...

In the News

International Courts Are Off Track

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

International courts are confused, neglecting what they should be attacking--namely piracy--and stirring around in things over which they have no real jurisdiction--alleged crimes by the U.S. in Guantanamo and by Israel in Gaza...

In the News

Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The head of the ACLU says same-sex marriage nationwide is now "a sure thing." ...

In the News

Don't Just Do Something…

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, April 30, 2009

I have a book for Washington politicians to read...

Analysis and Commentary

Are U.S. officials potential Spanish prisoners?

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 6, 2009

Just when former Bush administration officials thought they could relax and perhaps travel a bit comes the disconcerting news that a Spanish court is considering charges against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other former government officials for the design of alleged torture at Guantánamo Bay...

In the News

Welcome to the New, New Deal 02/10/2009

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Monday, February 9, 2009

Here’s a good one-line summary of what’s happening in Washington: Welcome to the New, New Deal...

Analysis and Commentary

Taxes - a cautionary tale

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, February 2, 2009

The byword of the political campaign season, "change," has given way to "new."...

Faith, Hope, and Charities

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Partnerships with religious groups may have been dismissed as a stepchild of the Bush administration, but they appear to have a bright future all the same. By David Davenport.

In the News

Davenport: 2009: The Year of Taxes

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, December 29, 2008

It's not April 15, but it's already tax season...