federal case

Idioms
  1. make a federal case (out) of, Informal. to exaggerate the importance of or make an issue out of (something trivial).

Origin of federal case

First recorded in 1950–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Idioms and Phrases with make a federal case of

make a federal case of

Also, make a big deal of. Give undue importance to an issue, as in I'll pay you back next week—you needn't make a federal case of it, or Jack is making a big deal of filling out his passport application. The first hyperbolic expression, almost always used in a negative context, alludes to taking a legal action before a high (federal) court. The second alludes to an important business transaction (see big deal, def. 1).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.