can't fight City Hall

(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

can't fight City Hall, one/you/they

An ordinary person cannot overcome bureaucracy. The term is American in origin, for it is mainly in the United States that the seat of a city government is called City Hall (and has been since the late seventeenth century). The idea of combating the city bureaucracy is believed to date from the nineteenth century, when Tammany Hall was a powerful political machine that controlled the New York Democratic Party and, in effect, the city government.
See also: city, fight, one
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.
A case before a California appellate courthas the potential to put some teeth behind the old saying "You can't fight City Hall.
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.
School newspapers since Hazelwood have probably assumed that they can't fight city hall, that school districts have almost unfettered license to censor them," says Ken Myers, the students' lawyer.
Don't tell James Winters you can't fight City Hall.
The opposition to thoughtless development may be stronger now, but in the absence of much historical evidence from Professor Logan, one is left with the old saw--"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.
When people tell me they can't fight city hall, I tell them that's hogwash," says Coterill.
Well, if you think you can't fight City Hall, try the school administration, whose "Club Med mentality.
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