After education at Colgate University and Cornell University Law School, he passed the bar in 1937. Under Thomas E. Dewey he worked from 1938 to 1942 in the prosecution of organized crime in New York City. He entered the US Navy in 1942, serving on the USS Intrepid, including her action in the Battle of Okinawa.
While serving as a Committee Counsel to a US Senate committee, he examined the documentation from the House Un-American Activities Committee's investigation of Alger Hiss at the request of then-Congressman Richard M. Nixon, and advised Nixon that Hiss had lied and that the case against him should be pursued.
Rogers joined the Administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a Deputy-Attorney-General position in 1953, and then served from 1957 to 1961, as Attorney General. He remained a close advisor to then-Vice-President Nixon, throughout the Eisenhower administration, especially in the slush fund scandal that led to Nixon's Checkers speech, and Eisenhower's two medical crises.