can't fight City Hall

(you) can't fight city hall

cliché 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

(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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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