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

Republicans’ Secret Weapon: Taxes

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hillary Clinton leads the presidential polls, but there's one issue that could change things by next November...

Analysis and Commentary

No John F. Kennedy moment

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The most important event in the Iowa presidential campaign this week actually takes place in Texas, where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will address his faith and how it would inform his presidency...

In the News

Sarbanes-Oxley for Churches?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is investigating six ministries about their financial practices...

Analysis and Commentary

Retooling America's Mandate

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, October 28, 2007

If you believe Professor Larry Sabato, the U.S. Constitution - after performing well for more than 200 years - needs an extreme makeover...

In the News

The New Push for States’ Rights

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, October 8, 2007

After decades when power moved from state and local governments to Washington, suddenly states are asserting more control on everything from global warming to gay marriage...

Analysis and Commentary

The new states' rights?

by David Davenportvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, October 7, 2007

For decades, states have seen steady erosion in their authority while federal power has expanded...

In the News

Eliminate the Pork

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Republican Congress had its chance in 2006...

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...