On Day 3 of her confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was asked questions about the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses, and about standing to raise Establishment Clause issues. Blog from the Capital has an unofficial transcript of the exchanges between Kagan and Senators Feinstein, Cardin and Coburn. Kagan explained her understanding of the religion clauses in part as follows:
In general, I think, what both First Amendment clauses are designed to do - and this is the way in which they work hand in hand with each other - what they're both designed to do is to ensure that you have full rights as an American citizen. You are a part of this country, no matter what your religion is, and to ensure that religion just never functions as a way to put people because of their religious belief or because of their religious practice at some disadvantage with respect to any of the rights of American citizenship. So, I think that that's the sort of overall purpose of both parts of the amendment.The full transcripts are worth reading.