Responding to Barack Obama's criticism of the Citizens United Supreme Court case during his State of the Union speech, The Drudge Report ran with the sensationalist headline suggesting that Obama's remarks "condemn[ing]" the Supreme Court were "INTIMIDATION," linking to a video of the speech:
From Obama's 2010 State of the Union address:
And it's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.
But Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court was not unusual. Previous presidents have made similar comments about the judicial branch. Ronald Reagan effectively criticized the Supreme Court while he argued in favor of prayer in schools in his 1988 State of the Union:
And let me add here: So many of our greatest statesmen have reminded us that spiritual values alone are essential to our nation's health and vigor. The Congress opens its proceedings each day, as does the Supreme Court, with an acknowledgment of the Supreme Being. Yet we are denied the right to set aside in our schools a moment each day for those who wish to pray. I believe Congress should pass our school prayer amendment.
And in 2004, Bush decried "activist judges" who were "redefining marriage by court order":
Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our Nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.
The outcome of this debate is important, and so is the way we conduct it. The same moral tradition that defines marriage also teaches that each individual has dignity and value in God's sight.
In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that fetuses were not considered "persons" for purposes of the Constitution in Roe v. Wade. Discussing abortion, Reagan said in his 1984 State of the Union address:
And while I'm on this subject, each day your Members observe a 200-year-old tradition meant to signify America is one nation under God. I must ask: If you can begin your day with a member of the clergy standing right here leading you in prayer, then why can't freedom to acknowledge God be enjoyed again by children in every schoolroom across this land?
During our first 3 years, we have joined bipartisan efforts to restore protection of the law to unborn children. Now, I know this issue is very controversial. But unless and until it can be proven that an unborn child is not a living human being, can we justify assuming without proof that it isn't? No one has yet offered such proof; indeed, all the evidence is to the contrary. We should rise above bitterness and reproach, and if Americans could come together in a spirit of understanding and helping, then we could find positive solutions to the tragedy of abortion.
Again in 1986, Reagan said, "America will never be whole as long as the right to life granted by our Creator is denied to the unborn."