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

In the News

A Plea for Conservatism

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, August 13, 2007

Political conservatism, from Barry Goldwater in the 60s to Newt Gingrich in the 90s, was always about smaller government...

In the News

A Crisis We Cannot Ignore

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Democratic candidates for president tell us what's wrong in Iraq while Republicans remind us they're stronger in the war on terror...

In the News

Inconvenient Truths about Stem Cell Policy

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Thursday, July 5, 2007

Stem cell research policy requires the balancing of moral, scientific and social questions...

In the News

A Banner Term for the Supreme Court

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

With the latest Gallup poll showing confidence in Congress at an all-time low, and the president's approval numbers still dragging, here is one bright spot on the federal horizon--the Supreme Court is wrapping up a banner term...

In the News

Mitt Romney and Mormonism

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Thursday, May 31, 2007

Suddenly it's everywhere--in newspaper headlines and on television documentaries...

In the News

Fred Thompson, Federalist

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Thursday, May 24, 2007

With 10 republicans running for president, a lot of people are watching one who's not (at least not yet): former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee...

In the News

The Thought Crimes Bill of 2007

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole frequently voted "no" on new legislation, he explained: "There are a lot of bad ideas in Washington and someone needs to stop them..."

Analysis and Commentary

Watering the grassroots

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Below the surface of all the big issues facing California -- education, prisons, transportation, immigration, political reform -- lies the disturbing reality that the grassroots of citizen political involvement are drying up...

Analysis and Commentary

Cell-phone bill based on faith, not research

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, September 14, 2006

With the California Legislature processing more than a thousand bills in the waning weeks of the session, dare we suggest one more...

Analysis and Commentary

The federal-state levee dance

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, June 11, 2006

The latest political dance craze is the federalism shuffle…

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