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

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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...

Analysis and Commentary

Is Healthcare Reform Constitutional?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Friday, April 30, 2010

At least 20 states have gone to court arguing that the healthcare reform bill is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, like the pitch that isn’t a ball or strike ’til the umpire calls it, no law is legally unconstitutional...

Analysis and Commentary

Hard questions for Holder

by David Davenportvia Washington Times
Friday, March 19, 2010

It's been a rough few months for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and he should face more tough questioning when he reports for the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Tuesday. . . .

In the News

Dangerous Decisions at DOJ

by David Davenportvia townhall.com
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A recent 5-page letter from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Congress revealed the shocking news that nine lawyers in the Department of Justice represented terrorist detainees before they joined the Department. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

The DOJ9 (and still counting)

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, March 1, 2010

With health care dominating the headlines, it was easy to miss the unfolding drama between Congress and the Obama administration about the legal war on terror. . . .