The University of Pennsylvania Law Review's PENNumbra has posted this exchange between professors Kermit Roosevelt and Richard Garnett on the former's book, The Myth of Judicial Activism.
Finally, in his recent Walter F. Murphy Lecture, "Constitutional Virtues" (published in the Green Bag), Professor H. Jefferson Powell took up the question, why does the Constitution bind?
In the school desegregation cases, SCOTUS ordered the school districts to integrate, and many refused to do so. The courts had no choice but to micromanage the district to get the desired results.
The case where a Federal judge took over a school system was, I believe, in Ohio. The ordered billions spent including specifically ordering the construction of an Olympic size swimming pool.