David Davenport

Research Fellow
Biography: 

David Davenport is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow at the Ashbrook Center. 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.

He is a regular columnist for the Washington Examiner and his study, "Commonsense Solutions To Our Civics Crisis," was published by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation in 2020.

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

TORT AND RETORT: Tort Reform

with David Davenport, Alan Morrisonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 25, 2005

During the 2004 presidential campaign, one principal plank of George W. Bush's domestic platform was reforming tort law, which includes class action lawsuits, asbestos liability, and medical malpractice liability. President Bush believes that tort law as it now stands permits trial lawyers to take advantage of good companies, driving up the costs of doing business for everyone. Others believe that existing tort law allows consumers to protect themselves against bad companies. Which is it? And should President Bush be given the tort reforms he wants? Peter Robinson speaks with David Davenport and Alan Morrison.

The New Diplomacy

by David Davenportvia Policy Review
Sunday, December 1, 2002

The ban on land mines, the International Criminal Court, and beyond

Why We Said No

by David Davenportvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Hoover fellow David Davenport explains why the United States was right not to join the International Criminal Court.

Analysis and Commentary

The International Criminal Court—the United States Sends Regrets

by David Davenportvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, April 29, 2002

The establishment of a major world court without U.S. participation opens a new and troublesome chapter in international law and diplomacy.

Analysis and Commentary

A Different Kind of Character for a Different Kind of War

by David Davenportvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, October 22, 2001

Can we reframe our frustration and understand that patience is part of our contribution to winning this war?

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