Debra J. Saunders

Fellow, Chapman Center for Citizenship Leadership

A fellow with Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership, Debra J. Saunders worked for more than thirty years covering politics on the ground and in Washington, as well as American culture, the news media, the criminal justice system, and dubious trends in public schools and prestigious universities. Her column is nationally syndicated with Creators Syndicate.

As a White House correspondent and columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Saunders followed then President Donald Trump from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, covered campaign rallies, the advent of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and was an active questioner in the James S. Brady Briefing Room. She also covered the early weeks of the Biden administration.

During her 24 years writing a column for the San Francisco Chronicle, Saunders reported on a diverse array of topics in local, national, and international politics including homelessness, dubious education trends like “new-new math,” and federal mandatory minimum sentencing. She successfully championed presidential pardons for a number of nonviolent federal drug offenders. In 2013, then President Barack Obama commuted a life sentence for one such individual, Clarence Aaron, after Saunders spent a dozen years advocating for his release.

Her work took her inside California prisons, including San Quentin’s death row, and opened the door for Saunders to interview California first dog Sutter Brown, spar with then Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown on his use of eminent domain, and wield the Savage Sword of Conan during a one-on-one interview with then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 2002, the prestigious National Journal's "Talking Heads" column listed Saunders as a member of the A-team of top political journalists working outside the Beltway. Vaughn Ververs wrote, "An independent voice working for a left-leaning newspaper, Saunders covers California and national politics, as well as the state's political personalities. Her column is frequently a welcome change in tone from the rest of the editorial page, and she regularly throws punches at both sides."

From 1987 to 1992, Saunders served as a columnist and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News where she wrote on Los Angeles schools, crime, police, courts, and politics.

Saunders has written for national publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard and has appeared as a political commentator on national and international networks including BBC, Fox News and CNN.

She graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a B.A. in Greek and Latin.

Archives

California’s Epic Homeless Nightmare

What's the matter with California? "It's suffering from San Fransickness," which is "pathological altruism," answers Michael Shellenberger, author of the book "San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities."

Student Loans: Payment Optional

No one forced students to borrow thousands of dollars for pricey college tuition. So why should taxpayers pick up the tab for Americans who likely will make more money than non-college graduates?

The Masks are Off

The federal mask mandate on planes, trains and public transportation never was about "the science." It was about politics.

CNN Plus or Minus

As Forbes reported, in February CNN's viewership had declined by 54% from 2021. Fox News had an average audience of 2.634 million in February. MSNBC came in second with 1.194 million average viewers. CNN had 774,000 average viewers in February.

McConnell Is a Rock Star; Brooks Is a Groupie

As he seeks to fill an opening U.S. Senate seat, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., boasted he wanted "to fire Mitch McConnell," the Senate minority leader whom Brooks called a "weak-kneed debt-junkie open-border RINO Republican" in a recent campaign ad.

Surrogate Babies of Ukraine Treated Like a Commodity

The video on the website for BioTexCom, aka the Center for Human Reproduction, features Ukrainian men driving babies born to surrogate mothers to bomb shelters where smiling caregivers cradle the precious cargo and keep the infants safe from Russian firepower. The company wants prospective parents to know that it is doing its utmost to shield these infants amid a war.

The People’s House — Without the People

It's been close to two years since Congress closed its doors to the public to slow the spread of COVID-19. While states and local governments are discarding their COVID-19 rules and shutdowns, the U.S. Capitol remains off-limits to the general public.

It’s Simple. Fake News Snookered Big Media

"Court Filing Started a Furor in Right-Wing Outlets, but Their Narrative Is Off Track," read The New York Times headline for a story about special counsel John Durham's investigation into the FBI's ill-starred Crossfire Hurricane probe into the 2016 election.

Can Britain’s Trump Survive?

The parallels between American and British politics make many Brits nervous — especially when it comes to brash Prime Minister Boris Johnson and boastful former President Donald Trump.