(you) can't fight city hall

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(you) can't fight city hall

You cannot defeat or prevail over a bureaucratic system or its rules. You might as well pay those parking tickets now because you'll never win in court. You can't fight city hall, after all.
See also: city, fight, hall

(You) can't fight city hall.

Fig. There is no way to win in a battle against a bureaucracy. Bill: I guess I'll go ahead and pay the tax bill. Bob: Might as well. You can't fight city hall. Mary: How did things go at your meeting with the zoning board? Sally: I gave up. Can't fight city hall.
See also: city, fight, hall

can't fight City Hall

Unable to overcome bureaucratic rules, as in Brad couldn't get a permit without going through channels-you can't fight City Hall! This term transfers the seat of city government to a more general sense of bureaucracy in any sphere. [Mid-1800s]
See also: city, fight, hall
References in periodicals archive ?
You can't fight City Hall, even if everyone around you in your formative years always said 'smelt' rather than 'smelled'.
You can't fight city hall, so aviation maintainers have to get creative in order to keep airplanes flying.
There's an old saying that you can't fight City Hall.
It's been said you can't fight city hall, but can you fight the Band office?
In this case you can't fight city hall or the FDA and the repercussions are more severe than a simple red card.
Don't tell James Winters you can't fight City Hall.
They say you can't fight City Hall - but you sure as hell can pooh on the steps and run away.
Well, if you think you can't fight City Hall, try the school administration, whose "Club Med mentality.
You find it down on the streets - in the homes and apartments of thousands of average Joes and Janes in Neighborhood Watch groups who wouldn't buy into this notion that you can't fight City Hall and win.
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